Without further ado:
First Runner Up
I really liked the tone in this story. Absolutely chilling. I love the imagery of whispers behind newspapers and in people’s ears, hiding from the enemy, until the moment of victory is at hand and then the whisperers erupt in screams. I think it is very original how you keep the people whispering until after victory—when usually I would expect the screams at the moment of attack, an unleashing of anger and power. But it is so much more—unnerving?--that the people are able to restrain themselves up through the moment of victory, until they have won, and then they release. I would like to know more about the dictator in this story—why is he so all-powerful, who are these whisperers? The last few lines are very good, and very unnerving. I like the way you switch to second person and tell the reader to spy—very different. Great job!
Ronel Janse van Vuuren
It began with a whisper. The wind rustled the leaves; leaving a message for those who can hear it. The whisper flowed, caressed, cajoled until it could no longer be ignored. Flowers, acorns and others awoke. Stretching, they opened their eyes to see what the wind wanted.
‘Look. Look carefully,’ it whispered.
Slowly they crept closer to the corruption of nature. The more they looked, the sadder they became. Their tears renewed life in the ground it fell upon.
Gradually it turned into a roar. The awoken no longer cried. It was time for action; to attack those assaulting their home. Some used their roots to bury the offenders alive. Others used their amassed strength to drown the wicked. All of the awoken gave their lives to cleanse the earth of humans and their pollution. Blood, flesh and bone became one with the ground.
And it ended in silence.